Community Water Supply in the Niger Delta

A Survey of the Community Water Supply of some rural Riverine Communities in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria: Health implications and literature search for suitable interventions

B Ordinioha, Nigerian Medical Journal

Water is a fundamental human need. This is the basis for target 10, goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals which sets to reduce the proportion of people without access to safe water by half by 2015. This study assessed the access to safe water supply in 22 riverine communities in the Niger delta region of Nigeria.

Materials and Method:
The study was carried out using a descriptive cross-sectional study design, with the data collected using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire, field observations and focused group discussions. The questionnaire was administered to female heads of household, and used to collect information on the main source of drinking water, the time it took for the round trip to the main water sources, and methods used for the treatment of water of suspicious quality. An inventory of all the community water facilities in the communities was also taken, and information collected on the functionality of the facilities, and how they were constructed, operated and maintained. A sample of the water from each of the facilities was also collected in a sterile container for microbiological analysis.

A total of 456 questionnaires were administered and retrieved. The most common source of drinking water was surface water (37.9%), and most (61.2%) of the water drawers spent less than 15 minutes to complete the round trip to the water sources. There were an average of 17 community water supply facilities, but only 23.8% of the facilities were functional during the study. Most of the functional facilities were being managed by community members. More than two third (67.9%) of the samples tested were found to contain significant numbers of Escherichia coli.

The communities had easy access to water supply, but most of the facilities were either contaminated or nonfunctional. The management of the facilities by members of the communities, and the promotion of point-of-use purification systems are hereby advocated.

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